6 articles Tag charity

Help Stop Companies from Robbing the Poor

Most of my readers know that I have strong socialist values and feel really strongly about equal rights for all people. Our current government has created a culture of keeping the rich rich and the poor poor, which has perpetuated food bank usage in the UK, huge levels of homelessness and the highest levels of child poverty in hundreds of years. What you might not know is that the huge tax-dodging companies which operate in the UK have a huge effect on poverty in other countries too. Companies dodge approximately £78 billion in tax in poor countries annually, stripping them of funds for vital services. Oxfam reveal that just a third of this amount would be enough to cover the healthcare that could prevent the needless deaths of eight million mothers, babies and children. Oxfam has created a powerful video to show what’s happening:

Showing it in such stark, literal terms of patients being directly deprived may seem provocative, especially when we see the part with the baby in an incubator, but the cold, hard facts are that this is exactly what happens when companies refuse to pay their taxes.

It makes me sick that even the lowest paid workers are expected to pay income tax and tax on almost everything they buy, but companies which turn over billions in profit get let off. I can’t even begin to get my head around how unfair that is and it’s time that we started demanding that the Government make changes.

Oxfam has started a petition and is asking people to follow this link and add your name to a list of people who wants to see changes happen NOW. It will take two minutes of your time and could make a difference, not only to us here in the UK, but also to people living in enforced poverty all over the world.

Do leave me a comment below if you have anything to say about the campaign or just to let me know you’re adding your name to the petition. I’m heading there to sign my name right now.

Everyone Jump For Pudsey! #JumpForPudsey

Pudsey bbc children in needWhen I was a kid, Pudsey and Children in Need was one of the highlights of the year – we’d get to do fun things like non-uniform days and bake sales at school to raise money for Children in Need and we’d all huddle round the telly for the night when it was shown on BBC One. Children in Need is now in it’s THIRTY SIXTH year (I know, it’s older than me!) having raised over £600 million since 1980 and this year they want us all to get a bit more active to help with the fundraising. Whether it’s leaps, launches, bounds or hops; the goal is for the UK to spring its way to one million jumps, turning jumps in to pounds. Boots is calling on people to get jumping with friends or family, at work or at home next week and in particular on Jump Day on the 26th of October.

The guys at Children in Need said “Helping to reach the one million jumps will be thousands of gymnasts from up and down the country who will be taking part in Jump for Pudsey challenges being staged in British Gymnastics registered clubs and leisure centres.  British Gymnastics has also created five easy jumps challenges for adults and children to do wherever they are, which can be found on boots.com and in the Jump Journal – available free from most Boots UK stores.

British artistic gymnast and five-time Olympic medal winner Max Whitlock is lending his support to the campaign to get as many people jumping as possible. Max says: “I think the Jump for Pudsey campaign is a brilliant idea! It’s great to have a campaign that not only raises money for such an incredible charity but also helps people keep fit whilst having fun. Even just a small amount of exercise like jumping can make a significant difference in helping people become healthier and happier. I’m sure lots of people will enjoy taking part and I know lots of gymnasts will be joining in and challenging each other to raise as much money as possible.” Many of Max’s fellow top Olympic gymnasts will also be showing their support for Jump for Pudsey by encouraging the public to get involved.”

Once you’ve done your jumps you can head over to the Boots totaliser to log all of your efforts with them and help get the total to one million! Jumping for Pudsey is such a simple and fun way to get involved, stay active, and most importantly raise money for disadvantaged kids in the UK and we’ve been getting our jump on in aid of this excellent cause, as well as roping in a whole bunch of Sausage and BB’s friends from school – take a look at some of our jumps below:

via GIPHY

pudsey1 pudsey2 pudsey3

If you need a bit of inspiration into how to get a bit of bounce in your step, British Gymnastics have put together a fabulous guide to encourage you to jump, which you can see here…

Jump for Pudsey

People are being encouraged to share their leaps with #JumpForPudsey  and make a donation of £3 by texting JUMP to 70313, or via mydonate.bt.com/events/jumpforpudsey. You can also find out more at boots.com/childreninneed.

We’d love to see your jumps too, so don’t forget to share all of your tweets, instagrams and Facebook posts with us so that we can follow along.

Impact of climate change on agriculture may be underestimated, study suggests

climate changeIn the UK with our well-stocked supermarket shelves, it’s easy to forget that many parts of the world are affected by a lack of food. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly 800 million people across the globe don’t have access to the nourishment they need to enable them to lead healthy lives.

Children can be especially badly hit. On its website, the charity humanappeal.org.uk highlights the shocking statistic that each year, over three million children die because of malnutrition. One of the factors contributing to food shortages is extreme weather. From flooding to droughts, a range of environmental factors can affect food supplies.

New research

Research in this area generally focusses on how weather changes hit crop yields in particular areas. However, a recent study by a team from Brown and Tufts universities suggested this may underestimate the impact of climate change. Publishing their findings in the journal Nature Climate Change, the scientists stated that as well as looking at how much food can be harvested in given units of land under particular weather conditions, it’s important to examine the number of crops farmers choose to plant each growing season and how much land they cultivate.

Senior research author Leah VanWey warned that looking at crop yields alone can miss significant factors that affect overall food output. She stated that this approach omits farmers’ reactions to climate shocks. For example, farmers might respond to falling profits by reducing the amount of land they use. They may also be less inclined to grow two successive crops in the same field within a single growing season.

‘Worrisome’

Taking these factors into account, the team looked specifically at Mato Grosso, a state in Brazil that produces around a tenth of the world’s soybeans. They suggested that if current trends continue, an average temperature increase of just one degree will cause a nine to 13 per cent drop in the production of soy and corn.

Commenting on this finding, research leader Avery Cohn said: “This is worrisome given that the temperature in the study region is predicted to rise by as much as two degrees by mid-century under the range of plausible greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.”

Creating incentives

According to the researchers, one way to reduce the negative reactions of farmers to climate shocks may be to increase incentives for growing crops. For example, if governments subsidise or insure farmers for growing particular foods, this could have the effect of minimising cuts in production.

With major climate change widely predicted for the coming decades, governments and organisations around the world are searching for innovative ways to minimise the problems this could cause for food production.

How Poor SEO Approaches Can Damage a Brand and the Implication if That “Brand” is a Leading Cancer Charity

I don’t want this blog to turn into a long list of posts where I moan about SEOs, but I had an approach yesterday that had me bashing my head against a wall.

It started well –

“Hope you’re well. I just wanted to get in touch to ask about your policy on guest posting on Mum’s the Word. I’m working with Cancer Research UK, to build awareness of the breast cancer help and resources offered on their site. We’re doing this chiefly by putting together some informative articles on related topics and working with bloggers like yourself to publish them on selected sites around the web, and I was wondering if you’d be open to running such a post?”

Then took a rapid turn for the worse –

“I do appreciate that it’s a difficult topic, and that it’s not the sort of subject matter that you’ve typically covered on Mum’s the Word, but it’d be great to work with you on this if you would be willing to consider publishing the piece.”

See, if this SEO guy had done even a modicum of research then he’d have realised that this is EXACTLY the sort of post I publish on my blog, in fact I already have several on this very topic.

If he’d used the tiniest amount of initiative or imagination, he might’ve typed the word ‘cancer’ into the very simple and prominently placed search bar at the side of the page and come up with no less than a dozen posts around the subject.

If he’d thought to engage his, no doubt, elite search skills he’d have realised that in 2011, my Stepmum lost her battle with cancer and I spent a long time trying to get my head around it, trying to work out how to process it, how to guide my infant daughter through it all and how to get our lives back on track afterwards. He’d have seen that I now run Race for Life every year in Lorraine’s memory and that I do as much for Cancer Research as I can.

This isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with poor marketing from this particular charity and I can’t help but wonder who makes the decisions regarding their marketing budget, given that they’re using aggressive telephone sales people and insensitive SEOs.

The sad part is, (as my friend Ruth mentioned after I shared with some blogger friends how sad I was about all of this) if they were to be a bit more sensible and use what would probably equate to a minute portion  of their marketing budget to employ bloggers to help them with their blogger outreach programme I’m 100% certain that they’d be a lot more successful and would circumvent the very real risk of alienating a lot of people.

As I pointed out in my reply to this person, just off of the top of my head I know one blogger who’s child is battling leukemia, one who’s Mum has beaten breast cancer and several others who lost friends or family to this horrible disease and I hope to goodness he hasn’t used the same approach with them that he did with me.

Over to you, Cancer Research

(I’m including follow links to the Cancer Research page in this post. Despite me criticising their approach, I think they’re a great charity and support them wholeheartedly)

International Women’s Day – Sightsavers

Because today is International Women’s Day I have a guest post from the charity Sightsavers for you all to read. 

Today is International Women’s Day. We’d like to celebrate a very special group of women, lady health workers, who, in developing countries, go door-to-door to provide access to free eye care services made available by us and our partners. These women work tirelessly to help prevent avoidable blindness, travelling to some of the poorest, hardest-to-reach neighborhoods, striving to improve the health of their community.

Case study – Jeba Ansari, Mumbai, India

Jeba a Young Muslim health worker shows the right way of wearing specs to one of the resident in Dharavi slums in Mumbai to find who has eye problem.

Hirabai Bayle, living in the Dharavi slum in Mumbai, India, shares a tiny home with her mother, teenage son and four sisters. Her husband left her and her son and now Hirabai earns £13 a month to support herself and her son, selling bananas and stitching gloves in a workshop. 20-year-old lady health worker, Jeba Ansari, visited Hirabai and diagnosed her as long sighted. By providing her with glasses, Jeba ensured that Hirabai could continue to work and remain financially independent.

Case study – Sarwar Kausar, Pakistan

Inspired by a need to support her community, Sarwar Kausar became a health worker after finishing school. In countries like Pakistan, many women must be chaperoned to appointments with male health workers, which can be hard to arrange. Thousands of women go without examinations, suffering from eye health problems like cataract and trachoma. Lady health workers can visit women at home when male family members are away, passing on key medical advice to prevent eye diseases and infections.

Case study – Samina, Karachi, Pakistan

Having trained as a doctor, 33-year-old, married Samina decided to become a lady health worker, and eventually trained to become a Lady Health Supervisor (LHS) in the Karachi district of Pakistan. One of around 100,000 lady health workers in Pakistan, Samina overcame prejudice from within her own village, as a women receiving professional training, and now continues to work hard to free her community of eye health problems.

Please visit the Sightsavers website to find out more about their work and to donate to the cause. 

Enough is enough.

Excuse the dry skin, it’s still healing

Let me start this blog post by saying that I consider myself to be a charitable person. When I was a kid, I went door-to-door selling raffle tickets for Meningitis Trust, as an adult I’ve organised events for Lupus UK, I spent a whole year giving up my Saturdays to work in a Child Contact Centre and back in May I ran Race for Life to raise money for Cancer Research. A few weeks ago, I even went and had a black ribbon tattooed on my leg for melanoma at an event organised by one of Husband’s good friends where the proceeds of every tattoo was donated to cancer charities.

But today, I can unequivocally say that I’ve had a gut-full of charity. Whilst walking up the high street to do the banking for my boss, one of those obnoxious charity collectors (who get PAID to fund raise…can you explain the logic of that to me?) stepped towards me and starting shouting her script at me, telling me that it was my responsibility to end poverty in Africa. On account of the fact that a) I didn’t have time to stop and b) I have a moral objection to that type of fundraising, I politely told her that I didn’t have time to stop and carried on walking while she stood behind me muttering.

On the way back down the high street after I had run my errands and much to my complete and utter incredulity, the very same chugger (as I’m reliably informed they’re called) tried to stop me again, this time by physically blocking my path. I told her that she’d already tried to stop me and that I STILL didn’t have the time to stop, only for her to make facetious comments about me as I walked away. Now, is it just me, or does that seem a little bit out of line?

This evening, we had Husband’s father and his wife over for dinner as she’s American and we wanted to give her a nice Thanksgiving dinner and just as they were leaving the telephone rang. I answered and a man introduced himself as a caller from Cancer Research. He thanked me for my money-raising efforts for Race for Life and asked me if I’d had a nice day. Next, he asked why I’d chosen to do it and I explained about Lorraine and how she’d recently lost her fight. He expressed sympathy and proceeded with his spiel, offering me the chance to give £8 a month directly from my bank account. I explained that I couldn’t afford to add to my monthly outgoings this close to Christmas, but said that if he was able to phone back in January that I may be able to contribute. He barreled on (I must add, totally ignoring the fact that I was crying on the other end of the phone, after he decided to tell me about the wonderful new treatments for extending the lives of cancer patients) pushing me to sign up. At this point, Husband had had enough of seeing me upset and told me to put the phone down, so I interrupted the bloke for the third time and told him that I needed to hang up.

As I’ve gone to great lengths to stress, I consider myself to be a charitable soul, giving not just money but also as much time and effort as I can spare too and yet I got off of the telephone this evening feeling as though I’d been completely wrung out by this charity worker. I don’t know if it’s the policy of Cancer Research to treat people this way, and I’d never speak ill of a charity which has done so much, but I really feel that these aggressive methods of fundraising are a step too far. I feel as though I’ve been harangued in my own home, chased up and down the high street and generally treated like shit.

I won’t say that this has put me off of donating to charity, I’ll always give where I can. But I hope someone, somewhere, will read this post and maybe think about the way that they approach people. I don’t deserve to be made to feel guilty and reminded of personal grief. I’m a good person and this isn’t the way to make me part with my cash.